Give Veggies a Little Love

The Lempert Report
August 20, 2013

Most parents need a little help when it comes to kids and veggies.

According to ChooseMyPlate, a USDA initiative, children between the ages of three and five should be eating one and a half to two cups of veggies a day. But unfortunately, "Less than 10 percent of 4- to 8-year-olds consume the USDA recommended daily servings of vegetables. So, to try and increase veggie consumption, Researchers at the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Penn State, started testing different options with different kids. The results were released in a recent issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and data showed that children were three times more likely to refuse eating a vegetable alone than they were to eat the same vegetable when paired with a reduced-fat flavored dip. And the children were twice as likely to reject a vegetable with no dip than they were if given the same vegetable with plain dip. After the initial tastings and ratings, the preschoolers were given veggies and dip together. Thirty-one percent of them deemed a vegetable alone to be "yummy," but when paired with a flavored dip 64 percent of the children found the vegetable "yummy." On the other end of the spectrum, 18 percent of children refused to eat a vegetable by itself, while only six percent would refuse to eat a vegetable when paired with a flavored dip. This information can be seen as an opportunity for retailers to not only appeal to a kids' taste but also parents' time! Displays featuring vegetables and low fat dip combination ideas could be offered and packaged and even tested. On-the-go parents always need quick and healthy solutions, and this is one way retailers can really help to make good nutrition easy.